Bulldogs Hit Century Mark; Defeat San Francisco 101-65
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team hit the century mark for the first time all season Saturday afternoon with the help of all fourteen players. The Bulldogs used their all-around talented offense to defeat the University of San Francisco 101-65 in front of another sold out crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center; the sixth of the season and third-straight.
The 36-point victory helped extend Gonzaga's winning streak to 10 games and improved its overall record to 22-5 and 12-1 in West Coast Conference play. The setback for San Francisco dropped its record to 10-16 overall and 3-10 in league.
All 14 players not only scored for the Bulldogs, but each had at least one rebound and all but three had an assist in the game. Gonzaga also hit a season-high 55.0 percent from the field, draining 44-of-80 field goal attempts, including 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Zags bench also was huge, combing for 58 points, only seven less than San Francisco scored total. Five of those bench players registered some type of high in the victory. Freshman Chelsea Waters scored a career-high nine points and tied a career-high in assists with two; sophomore Maiki Viela tied a career-high in rebounds with three; freshman Kiara Kudron passed out a career-high four assists; sophomore Keani Albanez grabbed a career-high five rebounds and freshman Elle Tinkle tied her career-high in blocks with one.
Gonzaga was led by the trio of sophomore Sunny Greinacher, junior Stephanie Golden and senior Taelor Karr. Greinacher tallied a team-high 15 points, hitting 7-of-8 from the field and the one free throw she took. Golden came off the bench to register her second-straight double-figure game with 14 points - one off her career-high - and added six rebounds. Karr chipped in 12 points and had six assists with no turnovers in 24 minutes of play.
San Francisco, who scored the most points on Gonzaga in conference play this season with its 65 points, had four of its eight players finish in double-figures and was led by Taylor Proctor with 19 points.
The Bulldogs ran out to a 47-29 halftime advantage by hitting a stellar 52.4 percent (22-of-42) from the field and had 11 players score.
Golden had 12 of her 14 points in the opening 20 minutes, including six-straight points in a sequence that gave the Zags their largest lead of the first half at 24 points, 44-24, with 2:40 to play.
Gonzaga started the second half scoring the first eight points and pushed their run to a 14-5 spurt to claim a 61-34 advantage at 15:51. Greinacher had five points in the run, while redshirt freshman Shelby Cheslek added four of her eight points.
The Bulldogs largest lead of the game was 38 points; secured three times and twice on baskets from sophomore Danielle Walter. Walter's hit a jumper that made the score 96-58 with 2:10 remaining and then nailed the 3-pointer that finally bumped Gonzaga above 100 points at 101-63 and made the fans give a wild standing ovation.
Gonzaga now hits the road for its final two road games of the season. The Bulldogs play at Santa Clara University Thursday at 6 p.m. and at BYU Saturday at 1 p.m.
NOTES and QUOTES
Notes: Saturday's game was part of the Play 4Kay initiative, where coaches around the nation wear pink to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Since its inception in 2007, Play 4Kay has generated more than $2 million ... the game was sixth sellout of the season and 16th in school history ... Gonzaga has won 14 consecutive games against USF and leads the series 30-24. The average margin of victory during the Bulldogs' win streak has been nearly 30 points per game ... the Zags topped 100 points for the first time since November 2011, when they also scored 101 against Hofstra ... Taelor Karr, the WCC's most accurate long-range shooter, has hit at least one 3-pointer in 12 of the Zags' 13 conference games ... Stephanie Golden reached double-figure points for the second game in a row. Prior to this mini streak, the junior forward had scored 10 points or more just twice this season ... the Gonzaga bench accounted for a season-high 58 points.
Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves
On if his team is peaking at the right moment ... "We have been playing well, no question about it. I don't know about peaking because I don't know how good this team can be. I think we're still proving it ... we're still improving. I just think we still have a high ceiling, we can still get better. I'll never let them rest, I guarantee you that."
On the recent play of Stephanie Golden ... "We knew she had it in her. She is just playing with a lot of confidence and looks like she is having a lot of fun. When we get that kind of effort from her, we become a lot better because she is really our only player that can play with her back to the basket consistently."
On the focus of his club following the big win over rival Saint Mary's ... "I told them I was really proud of them. It would have been really easy to have a letdown, but we didn't. Offensively, we were good all night long ... we just did a lot of really nice things."
Gonzaga junior Stephanie Golden
On her offensive production the last two games ... "I've just got my mojo back. I've just really been working on playing confidently and assertively in practice and it's just been carrying over to the games."
On the play of Gonzaga's frontcourt ... "I think that all of our posts played super strong tonight, and I think that as long as we keep working on being physical in practice and challenging each other, I think that it will really carry over to when it's most important."
Gonzaga sophomore Sunny Greinacher
On the play of Stephanie Golden ... "She was just terrific this week. I'm just so happy for her because she always works so hard in practice. And I don't think I know anyone who can use their body better than Stephanie; I always have a hard time in practice defending her."
On topping 100 points ... "We were all talking about that on the bench - we really wanted that. And then when (Danielle Walter) hit that 3, we were just all very excited."
On Gonzaga's reserves getting so much playing time ... "It's awesome. That's when the game is the most fun, when you see everyone scoring. It's great to see them have playing time and do a lot of work out there."